NEWLY appointed Social Development Minister Motlohi Maliehe has dared killers and rapists to continue with their "evil" crimes against the elderly and see the hefty punishments coming their way.
Mr Maliehe said he was working tirelessly to ensure that hefty sentences are meted out to offenders.
Mr Maliehe said this during his ministry's recent International Day of Elderly Persons commemorations in Taung, Mohale's Hoek.
Mr Maliehe said he would implore judges to pass harsher sentences against those who murdered or raped elderly people and children.
"The rights that must be protected are those of the elderly who are being killed and raped instead of those of the devils (offenders)," Mr Maliehe said.
"You see minor criminal cases involving taxi drivers being taken seriously by the courts while murder and rape cases are taken for granted and perpetrators are left to go scot free."
Mr Maliehe implored communities to stop protecting their criminal relatives and instead let the law take its course.
"I know that you cry when your children are punished for the crimes they would have committed but this time you will cry until you are tired because we are not going to allow them to get away with these heinous crimes."
Mr Maliehe also condemned brewers of traditional beer who cash in on pensioners by setting up stalls close to their pay points. He said beginning next month, he would ensure that they are banned.
"Starting from next month, I do not want to see traditional beer brewers and other vendors who sell expensive products to pensioners at the pay points because they are burdening the elderly with unnecessary debts when they have huge responsibilities back home.
"The elderly must be allowed to spend money on important things that will benefit them and their dependents.
"It is the responsibility of the police and other security agencies to ensure that the rights and welfare of the elderly people are fully protected.
"The community police, chiefs and the families of the elderly must ensure that they enjoy their benefits."
For her part, 'Mannoi Monyake, who spoke on behalf of the elderly said they were tired of living in fear of their killers and abusers and therefore the courts must never release offenders on bail. She also said the government must bring back the death penalty to deter rapists.
"Rapists must have their manhood cut off and all murders must also be killed," Ms Monyake said.